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Guilty: Firm discriminated against employee with mental disability

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HC Online | 12 Nov 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
An accountancy firm discriminated against a long-term employee on the grounds of a mental disability, the Fair Work Ombudsman has found.
  • Anon | 12 Nov 2012, 03:22 PM Agree 0
    Really? $17K for the pain and suffering the organisation put this woman through? I am not sure whether this sends the right message to employers.
  • Jo | 12 Nov 2012, 04:17 PM Agree 0
    What might be some of the "reasonable adjustments" you could explore to accommodate depression or bi-polar?
  • Jasm | 12 Nov 2012, 04:25 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Anon, at the settlement amount, it's pathetic and degrading, and also the thin consequences on that organisation. A huge reason why most bullying and discrimination cases don't get reported. The victims are never really compensated or rehabilitated after all the distress , embarrassment, pain and suffering caused. They are hardly protected by the organisation, most are treated like a disease that must be forced to dismiss their accusation, or learn to live with it , as the accused is never confronted about their inappropriate behaviour, or simple leave the organisation, so there is no case to resolve for HR/organisation. Great example to set for those bullies, or unfair organisations - no consequence, many times they are actually further protected, and the best case I have seen is the accused is then promoted, a clear sign, just continue to behave the same way mate! The vicious cycle begins and more victims awaiting the same curse! The frightening part is the lack of understanding whether deliberate or not from our community and organisations of how serious the effects of bullying and discrimination has on some victims, sorry to frightened people but reality is, it can lead to depression, more serious mental illness, isolation, unemployment and the worst - suicide. Yes suicide. So when you think of a settlement payment, its much more than the dollar value. The policy and procedures for bullying and discrimination are not worth the paper they are printed on. The accused in most cases are never pulled up for their inappropriate behaviour, sadly some bullies, don't know they are causing distress or the effects. simply no real consequence, so it won't stop and its still happening to innocent victims every day. There wouldn't be work place law firms otherwise. Apologies ahead of time if some decent HR people are offended, you are a rare breed. Or the Fair Work Australia, Ombudsman etc, etc, we have just not seen any changes that are of benefit to the victims. Organisations, especially the corporates, have a clever legal team to protect them from litigation. They also know how expensive it is for victims, so I ask, where is the fairness and protection for our future victims? I don't have the answers, like I wait in hope for the cure of Cancer, I will for this.....
  • Sarah | 12 Nov 2012, 06:59 PM Agree 0
    This kind of thinking is entrenched in so many organisations and it is a pity a stronger financial disincentive wasn't sent to the firm! It certainly makes me think twice before seeking any legal redress against my employer. Beyond Blue/R U OK day has a long road ahead!
  • Jen Dalitz | 12 Nov 2012, 08:14 PM Agree 0
    I agree with anon... $17k? Could this be a typo?? Seems completely inadequate.
  • Gregg Landry | 13 Nov 2012, 10:14 PM Agree 0
    The pay out is appalling but we may not have the entire story. There may be more compensation such as back pay from the time of termination until the ruling plus a 17k final payout etc. I'm just basing this on my former experience as a workers comp case manager. It is hard to say given the small excerpt above. It is difficult to imagine how a meager 17k would seem fair to fair work. They must have a formula for compensation that is mandated to be followed. Perhaps the injured party secured a new job in weeks and therefore had little financial loss and the 17k was for a small period of duress. Of course I speculate in the absence of reading the entire report.
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